Marco Wittmann claimed yesterday’s Formula 3 Qualification Race at Macau, putting himself in pole for today’s Feature Race.
From his initial pole position, the German pilot ran unthreatened to the chequered flag in a race neutralised by a late safety car period.
Admittedly, Wittmann had already lost two of his rivals before the lights went out. Alexander Sims – racing in his TOM’S Toyota machine – suffered an unfortunate accident on his way to the grid, ending his day before it had even begun.
This was further mirth as the field lined-up for the start, when first gear broke on Antonio Felix da Costa’s Volkswagen-powered Hitech machine. Da Costa would get four laps in eventually, before pulling into the pits to finish.
Wittmann still had to manage further challenges off the line – primarily from GP3 Champion Valtteri Bottas and British F3 Champion Felipe Nasr; however as the trio approached Lisboa corner for the first time, Wittmann held the inside line and the lead, never to be worried again.
With a gap of approximately 1.5 second’s throughout the green flag running, Wittmann held a steady lead, enduring the early prize would be his.
Unfortunately for Bottas, the Finn was squeezed out wide at Lisboa’s tight turn-in point, gifting 2nd spot to Nasr. Bottas’ difficult opening tour would be compounded on the second circulation, when Formula 3 Euroseries Champion, Roberto Mehri, scythed passed the GP3 victor, demoted Bottas to 4th.
Indeed it was an impressive start for Mehri, who launched himself from 8th on the grid, making up for spots in the opening few turns. Once on Nasr’s tail, Mehri’s progress faltered, as the Brazilian fought to keep the eager Spaniard behind him.
Nasr had an answer for everything Mehri threw at him, ensuring their places would remain unchanged to the flag. Bottas could do little else, but settle for 4th.
Carlin’s Carlos Huertas took 5th ahead of the fast-starting Daniel Juncadella, who came home 6th in his Prema Powerteam Mercedes.
Like Mehri, Juncadella also enjoyed a stellar opening tour, jumping from 11th to 7th, before displacing Signature Racing’s Laurens Vanthoor for 6th and Huertas for 5th.
Unwilling to lose a top-five placing, Huertas retook Juncadella on the lap seven, earning a place on the clean side of the grid for the Feature. Vanthoor stayed 7th to the flag, just ahead of Daniel Abt (8th, Signature) Kimiya Sato (9th, Motopark) and Hannes van Asseldonk (10th, Hitech).
The race saw relatively few incidents – in fact, only two accidents of note. The first coming on lap seven, as an overeager launched his TOM’S machine over the rear of Mitch Evans’ Double-R Mercedes.
Evans continued to the flag, despite having a damaged rear wing; however Bradley’s day was done.
That was no match for the wreck caused by Sweden’s Jimmy Eriksson, who suffered a huge crash at Faraway on the eighth lap. Eriksson emerged from the incident unscathed; however his Motopark car did not – with the car in an awkward position, surrounded by a large pool of carbon fibre debris, the safety car was called.
With only two laps remaining, there was not enough time to clear the wreckage, rendering the rest of the race a done deal.
The finishing order in this race represents the grid for the Feature Race.
Race Rating: 3 out of 5
2011 Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix (Qualifying Race, 10 laps) Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Marco Wittmann Signature Dallara-VW 25m03.719s 2. Felipe Nasr Carlin Dallara-VW + 0.867s 3. Roberto Merhi Prema Dallara-Merc + 3.483s 4. Valtteri Bottas Double R Dallara-Merc + 4.270s 5. Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-VW + 4.850s 6. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc + 5.381s 7. Laurens Vanthoor Signature Dallara-VW + 6.512s 8. Daniel Abt Signature Dallara-VW + 7.228s 9. Kimiya Sato Motopark Dallara-VW + 8.154s 10. Hannes van Asseldonk Hitech Dallara-VW + 9.337s 11. Hideki Yamauchi Toda Dallara-Honda + 10.200s 12. Yuhi Sekiguchi Mucke Dallara-Merc + 10.789s 13. William Buller Fortec Dallara-Merc + 11.086s 14. Lucas Foresti Fortec Dallara-Merc + 11.517s 15. Richie Stanaway Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW + 12.167s 16. Hywel Lloyd Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 12.888s 17. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW + 13.967s 18. Marko Asmer Double R Dallara-Merc + 14.933s 19. Kevin Magnussen Carlin Dallara-VW + 15.558s 20. Carlos Sainz Jr Signature Dallara-VW + 16.388s 21. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc + 16.924s 22. Mitch Evans Double R Dallara-Merc + 18.601s Retirements: Jimmy Eriksson Motopark Dallara-VW 7 laps Adderly Fong Sino Vision Dallara-Merc 6 laps Richard Bradley TOM's Dallara-Toyota 5 laps Antonio Felix da Costa Hitech Dallara-VW 4 laps Hironobu Yasuda Three Bond Dallara-Nissan 3 laps Carlos Munoz Signature Dallara-VW 1 lap Pietro Fantin Hitech Dallara-VW 0 laps Alexander Sims TOM'S Dallara-Toyota 0 laps